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  • Bass vs. Guitar: The 6-String Debate

    Bass vs. Guitar: The 6-String Debate

    Q: I mean this in the most respectful of ways but, when I listen to six string bassists who play a lot of chords and solo. I can’t help but wonder why they don’t just play guitar. A: I’ve heard this question before, and thanks for being respectful. I’m a 6-string player, so I’ll share... »

  • Blues Bass: Jump Blues, Two-Beat and “The Bump”

    Blues Bass: Jump Blues, Two-Beat and “The Bump”

    So far, we’ve examined different kinds of blues progressions, tips for playing on the bandstand, and two common blues feels: the shuffle and the slow blues. In this column, as well as the following one, I’d like to dig deeper and discuss other standard blues feels that you’ll be likely to play. I’ll try to... »

  • A Practical Guide to Modes and Scales

    A Practical Guide to Modes and Scales

    Q: What are modes and how do they work? A: I get this question a lot, but have only touched on it in past columns, as it relates to other questions. Here’s a straightforward guide to modes and scales to follow. Modes are a very simple concept but can take some time to really understand... »

  • Mod Shop: Upgrading Your Tuners

    Mod Shop: Upgrading Your Tuners

    I’ve told you a little about my Lab Rat bass and showed you some of what I’ve done to it so far. The Lab Rat was a brand-new SX Ursa 4 that I paid about $150 plus shipping, and I bought it for the specific purpose of experimentation. I had a pickup configuration in mind... »

  • Dedication: A Guide to Practicing

    Dedication: A Guide to Practicing

    Recently I wrote to you about purposeful practicing. Purposeful practice can ensure that we are constantly solidifying our foundation and moving forward, both as an instrumentalist and a musician. However, creating a practice plan and schedule with intent is simply the first step. We must put this plan into action for it to be successful.... »

  • Practical Scalar Practice

    Practical Scalar Practice

    Q: I’ve been reading a lot of posts online and doing searches about which scales work over what chords. I’ve found a lot of good information, but I’m not really sure how to actually practice and internalize the information once I have it. Any advice? A: This is something that I’ve been working on with... »

  • Slow Blues: The Art of Making Each Note Count

    Slow Blues: The Art of Making Each Note Count

    The slow blues: a song that can last anywhere between 3 minutes and 30 minutes… depending on the guitar solos! For bass players, we’re challenged to keep our (and the audiences’) interest in the music and fuel the fire that makes the 30-minute rendition of “Red House” seem like something worth listening to. The style... »

  • Health & Fitness for The Working Bassist – Part 6: It’s All In Your Head

    Health & Fitness for The Working Bassist – Part 6: It’s All In Your Head

    Never Mind — if It’s All in Your Head Your Mind Can Fix It “It’s all in your head” is a phrase commonly used by physicians – publicly or privately – when they aren’t sure what is wrong with the patient because symptoms don’t fit in with a test performed or a question on the... »

  • Who Am I? A Thought Exercise for Bassists

    Who Am I? A Thought Exercise for Bassists

    I whole-heartedly believe that who we are as people translates to who we become on our instrument. I’ve been kind of meditating lately during any down moments on every aspect of my personality and how it may or may not relate to any given part of my style of playing – the good and the... »

  • Intentional Practice

    Intentional Practice

    Too many instrumentalists begin their daily practice session without knowing specifically what they wish to accomplish that day. If they think about their practice goals at all, they do so in a cursory, vague and last minute manner. Even worse, some serious students think the goal of practice is simply to “put in the time.”... »